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Questions About Auto Insurance & Accidents



  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    I think you'll get somewhere in the neighborhood of your $7500 purchase price ... assuming that you paid market value.

    I had something like this happen to me about 10 years ago. Son turned 16 and we bought him a used Geo Tracker. 60K miles, owned by a retired GM executive, perfect condition. Paid $8K.

    5 weeks later son totals car in a self-inflicted accident (speed + dirt road = ouch!).

    Insurance company paid us ... you guessed it ... $8K. We had to eat the sales tax paid.

    Insurance company doesn't care what you paid for the car, nor the value of the trade it. It's worth what it's worth. As noted above, you can negotiate the value of the settlement but unless you can prove to the insurance company that a replacement will cost $8400, you're somewhat out of luck.

    Check craigslist, ebay and and see what your car is worth on the open market. That might help in getting a higher number.
  • tba2tba2 Posts: 15
    Good stuff Michaell. I'll do just that..
    Thanks again very much.
    Oh, and sorry about your accident as well.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Best of luck ... check back in and let us all know how it turned out.
  • tba2tba2 Posts: 15
    I'll know more once we find out IF she has insurance at all.
    If she DOES..then I think my insurance company will go after everything.
    If she doesn't...
    Then MINE will try to get by with the least they can.
    I just want to make an informed decision when they throw a settlement at me, and not just say
    'ok, thats fine man, whatever is good with me.'
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,982
    OK, your clarification post makes more sense. But, when you go into negotiations (if you have to), leave the traded-in car out of it, because it has nothing to do with your settlement. The insurance company just views that as a car you no longer own and don't have an insurable interest in.

    What they do care about is the market value of the vehicle you bought, which appears to be the total price you paid, including the downpayment, which was the trade-in value of your former vehicle. The insurance company doesn't care whether you paid a cash downpayment, credit card downpayment, trade-in payment, or with a lifetime supply of sea monkeys. They don't even really care what you paid for the car - only what it was worth at the time of the accident.

    However, unless you grossly overpaid, it's a good indication of what replacement cost will be for you. Like Michaell said, find listings for similar vehicles on the market right now.

    Depending on what company you use, you might be pleasantly surprised by their offer. When my vehicle was totaled a couple of years ago, the insurance company offered the highest retail value they could find, and it was no way, no how worth as much as they gave me.


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  • tba2tba2 Posts: 15
    Ok, Kirstie, that makes sense as well. He had $7,900.00 on the sticker when I went to see it. We negotiated down from there.
    Like I said the NADA is $7,200.00.
    But, that makes sense about presenting from a 'retail value' rather than a 'traded in car' value.
    Nothing can place value on the MINT PERFECT condition it was in though...and low miles.
    I don't think?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 10,631
    edited March 2013
    Whatever they give you for the car, I think they will add the sales tax on top of that, or the number will include the sales tax.
    It's possible that varies by state.
  • tba2tba2 Posts: 15
    I'll have to remember that. I'd never have thought to think in that direction.
    Again..I'm a newbie at totalled vehicles.
    This forum has already turned out to be really helpful!
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,118
    In CA sales tax is part of the value of the car, as it is part of the cost of replacement.

    Unfortunately, License fees are refunded by the DMW at about 75 cents on the dollar, as right after paying for annual taxes I had a car totaled, and somehow seemed to get refunded an amount that cost me prorated 3 months worth for 2 weeks of use. I was mad! :mad:

    Having your car valued at "excellent condition" makes up for the "mint" condition. Excellent is a high standard.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,118
    Insurance companies don't take anything personally, and therefore, nor should you. They don't pump their fists when they short-change you, nor do they hang their heads in defeat when you best them. They only care that at the end of the year, there's black ink, not red ink.

    That may be, but there are certainly insurance companies in CA operating with a standard OP (operation procedure) to act in bad faith on every claim ever presented to them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,857
    Not sure what you mean, but in CA you settle on the value of the car, and then sales tax and license fees are added onto that. Tax and license are not part of the quoted settlement.

    So if they settle for say $7500, in CA, then you can figure an additional 10% or so on top of that.

    I don't know all the state insurance laws but the insurance agent certainly does.

    It is very sucky indeed that the victim ends up possibly being short-changed, but then, insurance companies have ended up writing most of the insurance laws, so there you go....

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  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,560
    I had a similar experience to Michaell's. My son totaled a new 1993 Mazda MX6 about 2 weeks into ownership. Sweet car too.

    I was very pleasantly surprised when the insurance company also reimbursed us for the sales tax we had paid. This was several years ago and things may have changed, but I think you still have a chance.

    In many states, you don't pay the sales tax to the dealer, you pay your sales tax directly to the state when you tag the car. Your accident happened so quickly it brings up the question, has the dealer already paid the sales tax or not? And does he have to now? Might make a difference. Just thinking out loud here.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460

  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    " has the dealer already paid the sales tax or not? And does he have to now? "

    The dealer is obligated to pay the ST as there was a sale. Consider it a "transaction" tax.
  • Kristi, I just bought a new 2013 Avalon XLE. Traded in my 2004 Infiniti QX56...Should I expect my car insurance to go up or down. I have great driving record/no accidents.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,982
    I'm not an insurance expert by any means, so you should put more credibility on the responses of others. However, I can share my personal experience of driving and having insurance for 30 years - your insurance will probably go up if you have comprehensive insurance in addition to collision. Comprehensive is the portion that pays you the value of your vehicle in the event that it's' totaled, or the portion that pays for the repairs on your vehicle in the event of an accident - assuming you are at-fault.

    Every time I've had a newer vehicle, comprehensive goes up because the value of my vehicle is higher. Every time I've traded for an older vehicle, comprehensive goes down. Your driving record is factored into the rate that you already pay, and whatever discount you get (as a percentage) won't change based on your vehicle. Options in your newer vehicle may lower your premiums - if, for example, your newer vehicle has more safety features, those may be factored into the premium you pay.

    As I mentioned, there are plenty of members here who are more knowledgeable, so if you get responses from them, they're likely to be more helpful and accurate.


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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Comprehensive is the portion that pays you the value of your vehicle in the event that it's' totaled, or the portion that pays for the repairs on your vehicle in the event of an accident

    If collision is the cause of the total, comprehensive does not enter into the equation.
    Comprehensive is a term to include most other causes of trama to the vehicle other than collision that happens suddenly and accidentally. Some hazards: Fire, theft, vandalism, falling objects, flood, earthquake, animal collision, glass breakage, but not inherent vice or gradual deterioration.

    Premium for Comp & Collision will rise according to the value of the vehicle.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 801
    I'm an insurance agent in Georgia, so I can offer a little insight. But the reality is that rates vary greatly from one car to another with each different insurer.

    The Comp and Collision rates will probably increase slightly, but I wouldn't expect it to be more than $100 or so more per year. The reason is simple math- your 2013 is worth more than your 2004. If you total it, it will cost them more. Their exposure risk is increased, so your rate is increased.

    The Liability portion of your policy will very likely go down a bit. You are far less likely to cause a high dollar accident in a full-size sedan than in a massive, uber-tank SUV!

    Overall, I suspect you will see an increase of less than $100 per year total. If you don't mind, let us know when you find out. I'm curious.

    My mom bought a new 2013 Mazda CX-9 (large Crossover/SUV) to replace her 2007 Ford Explorer last year. Her premium increase was only $23 per year.
    2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum, 2012 Mazda CX-9 GT
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    A few weeks ago we considered trading in our 2010 Mazda CX-7 for a 2013 Nissan Juke SL AWD.

    Called my insurance agent to see what the difference would be for insurance - no changes in coverage or deductibles.

    The Juke would have been about $45 cheaper, per year, than the Mazda.

    Go figure.

    Wife didn't love the Juke, so we didn't pull the trigger.
  • tba2tba2 Posts: 15
    Just to update this situation:
    I found out today that she does have insurance, State Farm. She just called.
    I am having our Jeep towed to a repair shop to get an estimate on repairs. It's in such mint condition, I'd really like to keep it, if possible.
    With both air bags deployed, I'm sure it'll be totaled by the adjuster.
    So, if the numbers are right, I'll have it fixed.
    If it's too far gone, then that's ok too.
    Just want to give the Jeep a chance.
    It's a beauty.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    edited March 2013
    With both air bags deployed, I'm sure it'll be totaled by the adjuster.

    That's not a guarantee one way or the other, frankly.

    Most insurance companies have a threshold where the cost of repairs are too much based on the value of the car. That's when you'll get notified that they want to total it.

    If the car is worth, say $7500, and the threshold is 60% (just a number - don't know what it really is), then if the repairs are going to cost more than 60% of $7500 - $4500 - they'll let you know.

    Good to know the other party was insured.

    EDIT - did you choose the repair shop? You should have that right, based on state law.

    I was backed into in a private parking lot last year. Guy wanted to give me a few hundred cash since the damage wasn't major. I told him no, that I wanted to get an estimate from my body shop. Guy was horrified to learn that the estimate was $1100. He swore that his "buddy" could fix the car for much less.

    I told him he had 48 hours to either A) come up with the $1100, or B) call his insurance company. After 48 hours I told him i would call my insurance company and file a claim. His insurance company called me the next day and wanted their adjuster to review the damage.

    Turns out their adjuster knows my body shop real well. The revised estimate was something like $950 - only difference was the cost of the pinstriping, I think. I took a check from them and didn't fix the car - hey, it's an '06 Saturn with a bunch of miles on it that I use only for pizza delivery.

    BTW - Saturns do dent, it turns out.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,857
    You can also accept the settlement for the total and then buy the Jeep back (if they'll sell it to you) and have it fixed. I don't recommend it but some people do that, usually by shopping for used parts.

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  • tba2tba2 Posts: 15
    edited March 2013
    On the airbags...I was just going by what MY adjuster said on the phone; that if both were deployed he'd total it. That said, the other insurance adjuster was a lot more friendly than mine. lol.
    Yes, I chose the repair shop. I've had a lot of work done there and he's the absolute best in town.
    I just got off the phone with the shop and it got there too late for them to get an estimate. (it's Friday!) That's fine.
    But, he's the owner, and he said he walked out and looked at it and said actually, the damage was not as bad as he would have thought it would be.
    We'll know more Monday. He did comment on what exceptional shape it's in and he understands me wanting to keep it.
    I told him I wasn't sure how all of this worked but the bottom line is I have $8400.00 tied up in that Jeep. I don't know about percentages, allocations, insurance red tape.
    I just want my Jeep back exactly (as possible) like it was.
    He seemed to think, especially since the other vehicle was there, and he was dealing with both at the same company, that he can make this work out.
    He also said since we had only had it 3 days, he had worked with this insurance company a lot, and my asking for it to be fixed..based on the total of my $8400.00 investment...would be honored by her insurance company.
    So we'll see I guess. I feel good about it.
    I guess I feel good in knowing I'm doing what I can to make a bad situation right..and yes, I want to get behind of that fine Jeep again. I'm thinking I'll keep it and get my son something else. Save the miles on my diesel truck. :)
    Hate it about your Saturn buddy. Those are pretty good rides though.">
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,982
    Thanks for the clarification. Somehow when I was writing all of that, I was thinking of the diff between liability only, and comp & collision coverage.


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  • tba2tba2 Posts: 15
    edited April 2013
    The estimated to repair it is $11,000.00
    Seeing as the NADA is $7,200.00, I guess it'll have to be totaled.
    And this just totally hacks me off.
    'Be glad your family is ok! So sorry for you. Hate it for you. That's what insurance is for.'
    I mean, I've just never dealt with this.
    Just seems so wrong some peabrained lady can just TOTALLY mess something up, and now not only do I loose something I was so proud of....
    I gotta start allllll over finding another vehicle. All of my time lost, all of my dealings.
    Ain't right.
    I know, that's whining...but it is what it is.

    But I don't have to like it.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,118
    I gotta start allllll over finding another vehicle. All of my time lost, all of my dealings.
    Ain't right.
    I know, that's whining...but it is what it is.

    I don't think it's whining. I think people should be more careful, as 99.8% of accidents aren't really accidents, but perhaps should be called "negligents" and "incompetents."

    That being said, you should go after every penny against that ladies insurance company:

    I'd be claiming the following:

    1) equivalent rental car (jeep or equivalent) while you look for a new vehicle up to 3 weeks.

    2) Lost time and purchasing research at $50/hour (approximately what? maybe 12 hours?).

    For the amount you get you should be able to find a very similar jeep.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,857
    that's not going to happen.

    you might get a car rental through your OWN company,however.

    As for the final settlement, as I mentioned, you can fight it out.

    Have they given you a firm offer yet?

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  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,118
    #1 can happen, I agree #2 is asking maybe a bit too much.

    I've received rentals from the "at-fault" insurance company before.

    You have to insist that the rental isn't a "Kia Rio" to replace your "nice" car, and they will resist, but you must resist equally forcefully in the opposite direction. There is no logical reason you should have to put up with a "lesser" vehicle, even temporarily.

    3 weeks may be a bit much, I would rush and wouldn't push it much past a week.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Sounds like "crying in his beer". Insurance should not cover claimants lost time - his clock wasn't damaged. Rental car is to be provided until the adverse company makes a reasonable offer to settle.

    Inconvenience is not to be considered or covered - that's life - man up.

    Purchasing research at $50/hour is not property damage, but resultant expense not directly connected to the impact. :P
  • tba2tba2 Posts: 15
    Yikes. No need to get ugly dude.
    And, sorry your job as an advice columnist didn't work out.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,701
    Yeah, you will NOT be compensated for your lost time looking for a replacement car, ya gotta just accept it...I know it hurts to lose a car you liked so much, but there is no value to sentimentality, at least in auto wreck negotiations...

    In GA, if your car is repaired, you get a rental car, generally, for as long as the shop deprives you of your vehicle...if your car is totalled, they will usually only give you 3-5 days of a rental, since totalling your car is the functional equivalent of simply buying your car from you...
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